Richie Sambora is intensifying his row with the rest of Bon Jovi, suggesting that the band should go ahead and replace him. "Hire the Edge," Sambora quipped, after Jon Bon Jovi publicly praised U2's guitarist.
Two months ago, Sambora abruptly quit Bon Jovi's world tour. "Due to personal issues," a statement said, he "will not be performing on this upcoming leg". Fans immediately began speculating about the reason, especially after Jon Bon Jovi said Sambora had been "through it before". In 2007 and 2011, Sambora went to rehab for addictions to alcohol and painkillers.
Sambora "has not been fired from the band" and "we did not have a row", the lead singer insisted in May. "He's not ill. He's got some personal stuff that he's got to deal with and I can't comment any further. And it's not me being elusive but it's for him to answer any further than that."
Yet Sambora continues to deny that he has "any major problems". "I love my fans, I have no personal problems, I am a happy man!" he told MailOnline. The 53-year-old claimed that Jon Bon Jovi has ignored his requests to rejoin the band, especially for their 5 July gig at Hyde Park. "My opinion is, Jon wants to see if he can pull off stadiums by himself," he said.
The rockers' dispute only seems to be escalating. In one interview, the singer spoke dismissively of Sambora's role in the band. "Unlike if this were, God forbid, the Edge, and he for some reason couldn't make a U2 show, [then] it would be very difficult to just step in," he said.
RadarOnline reported on Tuesday that Sambora "was so pissed off and insulted with the Edge comment that he couldn't bite his tongue any longer". The guitarist's three-word email read simply: "Hire the Edge".
"Jon did not respond," claimed RadarOnline's source. He "hasn't called Richie once since this all began … There are genuine fears this is the end of [the band]."
Sambora has been a member of Bon Jovi since before their 1983 debut, playing lead guitar on every record, co-writing most of the band's songs, and helping them sell more than 135m albums. He has also released three solo LPs, most recently 2012's Aftermath of the Lowdown, which reached No 35 in the UK.